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Boeing 777 Crashes While Landing at SFO: VIDEO


An Asiana Boeing 777 has crash landed at San Francisco International Airport after its tail came off while landing, KTVU reports:

According to a witness, around 11:30 a.m. the plane was just about to land -- its landing gear had come down -- when the tail of the plane came off. After wobbling for a minute, the aircraft flipped upside down, coming to a stop on runway on it's back, according to witness Kathy Muhler.When it came to a halt, smoke was pouring from the aircraft. Fire crews responded minutes later, Muhler said.

Twitter user David Eun was on the plane, and tweeted the above photo: "I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I'm ok. Surreal..."


But that nightmare turned into a miracle as hundreds of people managed to flee the shattered hulk of the jetliner, even as flames spread through the passenger cabin.

Two people were killed and 49 seriously hurt when Flight 214 crashed at 11:27 a.m. But the rest of the 307 passengers and crew members escaped either unscathed or with lesser injuries, Doug Yakel, an SFO spokesman, said at an evening news conference.

As night fell, emergency vehicles with their blinking lights still surrounded the burnt-out remains of the jetliner. Holes ringed by charred metal were ripped out of the plane's top, and the back of the plane was open to the elements where the aircraft's tail once was.

A visitor at SFO took a video of the plane shortly after the accident, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. They're walking?!! Do they realise the plane could blow up in any second?

    Posted by: litper | Jul 6, 2013 3:49:18 PM

  2. The photo shows it on it's belly, not back.

    Posted by: Craig | Jul 6, 2013 4:00:24 PM

  3. Jet engines run on kerosene, kerosene doesn't blow up. You can put a cigar out in kerosene. Now if a large quantity of kerosene impacts with the earth and is atomized, it will burn provided there is an ignition source, but that could only happen at the moment of impact.

    Posted by: nick | Jul 6, 2013 4:08:13 PM

  4. The skies are clear over SF Bay...all planes seem diverted away from the area. Weird. And yes, the story seems to say one thing and show another; it's clearly not on its back.

    Posted by: misha | Jul 6, 2013 4:19:02 PM

  5. Great reporting there. Or maybe it flipped right side up later.

    Posted by: melvin | Jul 6, 2013 4:24:14 PM

  6. Currently listing 2 dead and 70 injured. 10 are listed as critical including 2 children.

    Posted by: *****overtx | Jul 6, 2013 5:47:07 PM

  7. what kind of crap plane is that POS.....they're lucky the tail didn't come off in flight - or they'd all be dead!

    Posted by: disgusted American | Jul 6, 2013 6:05:43 PM

  8. remind me to book a flight on GIANA airlines...NOT!!!!!

    Posted by: disgusted American | Jul 6, 2013 6:06:46 PM

  9. @disgusted - The witness was wrong about the plane ending up on its back, so there's a good chance she was wrong about the tail falling off before the crash.

    Posted by: Merv | Jul 6, 2013 6:55:15 PM

  10. @disgusted - the tail slammed into the edge of the runway and was torn off. It didn't fall off.

    Posted by: Craig | Jul 6, 2013 7:08:25 PM

  11. I was on my way from LAS to SFO today but obviously staying home now. I listened to her interview and she said that it flipped but I never heard her say it landed upside down.

    Posted by: Jerry | Jul 6, 2013 7:21:11 PM

  12. @merv:

    News reports in Bay Area papers indicated that the tail of the plane may have hit the ground first or it landed off the runway on a soft surface. The plane did not flip over.

    Read http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-plane-crash-2-dead-49-badly-hurt-132-4650259.php for details. One passenger thought the approach was too low and that the pilot's attempt to correct it was too late, claiming that the pilot applied power but there was not enough time for the aircraft to respond. It will take some time for an expert evaluation.

    It was a calm day today, so wind shear and other bad-weather phenomena are almost certainly not part of the cause.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 6, 2013 9:57:12 PM

  13. So confusing.. I don't understand why the top of it burned. Also I saw an NBC story that had a witness describe the plane doing a "cartwheel" on the runway, to which I assume she was talking about the tail that ripped off. I wonder if it flipped back up after flipping over.

    Posted by: NE1 | Jul 7, 2013 12:15:41 AM

  14. I just returned from SFO about an hour ago. AX924.
    The plane did NOT flip. My money is on this plane getting caught in the wake of the plane that landed just before it, and it dropped to soon to the ground. The back end of the plane hit the seawall and the front end slammed down on the runway and slid for a bit. The oxygen for the masks is at the top of the plane. That's what caught fire.
    @disgusted american - It's a American made Boeing 777.

    Posted by: Edd | Jul 7, 2013 4:19:24 AM

  15. Crap reporting on this story - even the local SF stations were reporting hearsay and opinions from viewers. MSNBC "reported" a marginally racist story about Korean co-pilots not wanting to challenge their pilots. As a resident of SF, I was embarrassed by the lame-ass coverage, even as this event dominated the airwaves all Saturday.

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 7, 2013 11:26:48 AM

  16. @Edd: My guess is that it will turn out to be due to pilot fatigue after a very long flight.

    Vortices from an airplane ahead should have made the airplane that crashed roll substantially if that were the cause, as all the planes were going in the same direction that close to the runway, and none of the reports indicated that the plane rolled suddenly to one side or the other. Passengers did comment that the plane seemed too low on its approach.

    Also, vortices tend to drop in altitude after being formed, and when they reach the ground, the normal airflow pattern will be disrupted. Regardless, ATC is supposed to require minimum separations between aircraft landing on a runway to give any vortices enough time to dissipate or drop far enough below the glide path so as not to be a hazard.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 7, 2013 6:02:02 PM

  17. For all the idiots saying the problem was with the plane...if you'd shut up and read that the pilot landing the plane was a TRAINEE and had only 10 hours...yes 10 hours of experience flying the Boeing 777, one of the many fantastic safe aircraft made by Boeing. The blame belongs squarely on Asiana Airways which is a foreign airline, NOT with Boeing. It is absolutely amazing that there were not more immediate deaths, a tribute to the safety features of the Boeing 777. Try crash landing anything made by Airbus and watch it come apart. This pilot smashed the tail into the runway, going too slow and too low.

    Posted by: Bob | Jul 8, 2013 9:24:56 AM

  18. There's nothing wrong with that plane. Boeing makes great, reliable planes.

    It sounds like pilot error. Turns out the pilot was still in training for flying that type of aircraft. Also appears SF airport authorities were negligent by having made runway changes and not quickly replacing broken ground equipment that helps pilots land safely, at what is a difficult and dangerous airport to land, due to physical restraints caused by the bay.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 8, 2013 9:36:18 AM

  19. @ratbastard: The "pilot in training" had something like 10,000 hours of flight time and had landed Boeing 747s many times at SFO (citation: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/SF-plane-crash-Doomed-jet-was-too-slow-NTSB-4653066.php ). It was his 9th flight in a 777. There was a "check pilot" along to make sure he didn't make any mistakes specific to a 777 - with 10,000 hours of experience, he should have had everything else down pat.

    The "broken ground equipment" was a radio device used to indicate the glide slope. It was inoperative due to construction, and was not a big deal - SFO has two parallel runways close enough together that only one may be used in IFR conditions so the device wasn't needed - in IFR conditions, they would simply use the other runway instead. There is also a system of lights where you see all green if too high, red and green if on the glide path, and all red if too low. Visibility at the time was unusually good and there was only a 5 knot wind - basically perfect VFR conditions. The lights provide the same information as the glide-slope indicator, which is needed only when you can't see anything due to flying through clouds.

    So, I wouldn't blame the airplane, nor the airport, nor the pilot's level of experience. Something else went wrong. My best guess is fatigue after a long flight, which is consistent with the check pilot not noticing that the airspeed was way too low, but for a definitive answer, you'll have to wait until the investigation is complete.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 9, 2013 12:17:46 AM

  20. The latest info is at http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/SF-plane-crash-pilots-were-focused-on-centering-4655129.php .

    The pilots apparently thought the "auto throttle" was engaged,which should have maintained the desired air speed while they were dealing with some another problem - being off center and were correcting that. Correcting it requires a slight turn to get lined up with the center of the runway.

    The auto throttle was engaged when the crash occurred but it is not known if was engaged earlier during the approach nor when it was turned on.

    All it would have taken to note that something was wrong earlier was a glance at the airspeed indicator, or just noting that the plane's attitude was not what it normally would have been, which experienced pilots can tell by just looking out the windows (and visibility was excellent that day). I would imagine that the investigation will consider if they were focused too much on one task and if fatigue was a factor that interfered with noticing that something was obviously wrong on the approach. They will also try to determine if the auto throttle was misbehaving.

    Posted by: B ill | Jul 9, 2013 10:35:02 PM

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